Derek Young -

ILL-OSU: Visit Primer

Illinois is bringing in a strong crop of talent to see the last home game at Memorial Stadium of the season on Saturday. Here's a look ahead at some of the notable recruits who are expected.


Illinois plans to host at least three recruits committed to the Illini this Saturday at Memorial Stadium, with a possibility for a fourth.

Kurt Gavin, a 6'-5" 285 pound offensive tackle from in-state power Lincoln-Way East will make his second visit in as many home games after being at the Wisconsin game. 

Tre'Vour Simms, who will be joined by several of his East St. Louis teammates, visited earlier this season for the Middle Tennessee State game, and makes a return trip to his future college home.

Drake Spears makes his first trip of the season to Champaign after committing over the summer.  Spears helped lead West Aurora to their first playoff appearance in a handful of years and was a key two-way player for the Blackhawks.

Earlier this fall, Rockford (IL) Auburn commit Juwuane Parchman indicated that he would likely visit for the Ohio State game, however his plans to attend the game haven't yet been confirmed.

Committed (elsewhere):

The Illini will also have a couple of prospects who are currently committed to other schools on campus for a visit.

The biggest (literally and figuratively) of that bunch is JUCO DT Walvenski Aime, a 6'-5", 295 pound defensive tackle from Fort Scott CC in Kansas.  The Florida native of Boca Raton committed earlier this summer to Miami, subsequently re-opened his recruitment, and committed to Florida State in early October.  Aime received recent offers from both Baylor and Alabama, so Illinois getting him on campus is a big deal in itself.  Landing him would be an even greater coup and provide some much needed physical presence on the defensive line.

The other intriguing visitor who is currently pledged elsewhere is Western Michigan commit Rhashaun Epting.  Epting, who began his high school career at Elmhurst (IL) IC Catholic before moving to Proviso West in Hillside, is still relatively new to the game, but has immense physical talent.  Epting plays on both sides of the ball, but his future likely lies on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker.  With the news breaking regarding freshman LB Julian Jones, Epting fits a similar mold as far as on-field abilities and athleticism and would likely slide into that role.

SMU has one of the more prolific offenses in the nation under first year head coach Chad Morris, the former Clemson offensive coordinator.  However the Mustangs are just 1-8 on the year and have lost several close games.  Quarterback David Moore, who visited Illinois late winter-early spring, has ties to Illinois and is making a return trip on Saturday.  Illinois already has a quarterback committed in Eli Peters of Sandalwood (FL), but Moore could still find a place on the Illinois roster.

Top Offered Prospects:

Jeff Thomas of East St. Louis will make his second trip to Champaign this year with teammates Tre'Vour Simms and Stanley Green.  Thomas is the most highly-ranked prospect in Champaign this weekend.  The top-40 player in 2017 is a big play receiver with game-breaking quickness and speed.

Originally thought to be close to a commitment a couple months ago when he visited, Bryce Banks returns to Champaign for a gameday visit.  The 6'3" 195 pound CB/S seemingly set his recruitment aside over the past couple of months, and he is now getting back on the trail.

Previously mentioned in relation to Thomas, Stanley Green is an in-state defensive back from East St. Louis who has garnered much attention with his play this season, including an offer from the Illini.  Green is a physical player who has a nose for the football.  Illinois has a very good chance here with him, and landing Green can only help their cause with guys like Thomas and Terez Lagrone in future classes.

If the 2015 season proved anything to the Illini, it's that you can never have enough depth at the skill positions, especially wide receiver and running back.  Roddrick Bryant has long held an Illinois offer, but the big-bodied receiver will now make a visit for their matchup against Ohio State.  The CBC standout dealt with a knee injury last season, which undoubtedly slowed his recruiting, but he showed in his senior season that he has the ability to make tough catches above his shoulders and high point the ball.  Bryant still holds offers from Nebraska, Indiana, and Illinois.

Katrenick is a junior quarterback from the outskirts of the Chicago suburbs who is really starting to gain attention.  The signal-caller camped with the Illini this summer at Maine South and had an impressive showing, and followed that up with a strong junior year for Jacobs HS.  Katrenick received an offer from Virginia back in May, and has visited several other D1 programs since.  

The lone 2018 name on this list probably has the most familiar last name on this list as well.  2018 cornerback/safety Houston Griffith, son of former Illinois running back Howard Griffith, will be in Champaign on Saturday.  Mount Carmel dropped a slobberknocker second round playoff matchup last week against Glenbard West (final score was 7-0), so Griffith was able to get out and take a visit this weekend.  He's still young, but with an offer list started by Illinois now includes Kentucky, Indiana, and most recently, Virginia.

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